Adapting to TikTok: A Guide for Staying Ahead in Paid Search
In the fast-paced world of digital advertising, one thing is for sure – change is the only constant. With social media giants battling to be the go-to source for consumer information, TikTok has risen to give Google a run for its money. With its cutting-edge algorithms and user-generated content, TikTok is shaking up the way people find and engage with online information.
In this post, we will explore the impact TikTok is having on how people search and how marketers and advertisers can stay competitive in an ever-evolving digital landscape.
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL WITH TIKTOK?
Prabhakar Raghavan, Google’s SVP of Knowledge & Information Organization, cites a Google study that reveals 40% of 18-24-year-olds now use social media as their primary search engine. This is where TikTok steps up to the plate. With its growing influence, TikTok is no longer just a place to watch the latest shuffle dance video. It’s now a player in the search world. Or in Gen Z speak: “No cap, it’s straight bussin.”
These numbers aren’t surprising. Each generation that has evolved and grown alongside technology adopts a completely different internet language and dialect unique to them. Their technology, their behaviors, and the ways in which they consume information will differ from previous generations. Google recognizes social media’s influence on Gen Z, but even more importantly: TikTok recognizes it as well.
TikTok Launches Search Ads
TikTok is already testing paid search ads, which could change the game for brands and agencies. The social platform’s integration with search could offer new ad options that cater to user behavior and go beyond upper funnel and awareness tactics to include lower funnel and conversion tactics seen in e-commerce.
If successful in the future, the implications of this could have agencies and brands rethinking their entire search and social strategy.
As the younger generations grow up and have more purchasing power, they will continue to spend their money in unique ways, and TikTok could play a big role in that. #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt may soon become more than just a trend but a game-changer in the search and social landscape.
HOW DO WE STAY AHEAD OF THE CURVE?
To stay ahead of the curve, it’s time to rethink your search and social strategies. Here’s how:
Monitor Incrementality and a Halo Effect from TikTok:
Test the platform to understand its viability for your business, but don’t stop there. Look at the impact of your business as a whole beyond platform benchmarks. Check for spikes in Average Order Value, Conversions, and other search activity. Chances are, more people may be searching for your product beyond Google.
Rethink your KPIs and Success Metrics on Different Platforms:
Challenge your conventional success metrics. Lower funnel ROAS and last-click conversions in social are great, but what if the video-centric nature of TikTok gives you different insights? It’s not the same platform as Google, so don’t treat it the same.
Always Test and Learn:
An always-on testing strategy should be a cornerstone of your marketing plan. You won’t know where to capitalize on new audiences unless you test new avenues. This may require you to go beyond your search and social comfort zones (Google, Meta) and into uncharted waters (TikTok, Reddit, Pinterest etc). The age-old saying is true: Don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket.
Participate in Alphas and Beta Testing:
As advertisers develop new units and media executions, be an early adopter. Don’t be afraid to use incremental budgets or shuffle media dollars around. Not only will participation help shape the future of new ad offerings, but you’ll usually be able to provide immediate feedback to platforms. Participation will shape the future of ad offerings and keep you ahead of the game.
TikTok trends come and go, but TikTok’s impact on how people search is here to stay. As a result, it’s crucial that advertisers adapt their search and social strategies.
We have already seen the platform provide new avenues for businesses to reach customers, create new trends, and popularize niche topics; it will be interesting to see how TikTok continues to disrupt the digital marketing world.
By taking the above into consideration, you’ll be ahead of the game and ready for whatever TikTok paid search has in store for the digital marketing world.
If you’re interested in learning how Adlucent can help you keep your digital marketing strategies ahead of the curve, please reach out! And subscribe to our performance marketing blog for weekly timely and relevant insights.
Chris Apaliski is the Senior Director / Head of Paid Social at Adlucent. His career spans over a decade. He has held roles in paid and organic social, product marketing, product management, and strategy for mid-market and enterprise clients (including Fortune 10 brands). He is also a former adjunct professor at The University of North Texas. In his spare time, Chris is an active musician and enjoys spending time with his family in Dallas, Texas.
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